Beyond Eyes is an excellent game, it tells a sad but deep tale of a young girl named Rae who in a freak accident involving fireworks loses her sight. This sends Rae into isolation spending her days alone in her garden until one day when a lone cat shows up, this cat she names Nani and with her help Rae begins to find new hope, her friend becomes her lone companion and someone she comes to rely on. This early story takes up many seasons showing the change of the weather in Rae’s garden as she plays with Nani, but while the cat’s appearances were frequent early on the visits are lessened over the seasons until they stop all together. Nani’s absence prompts Rae to leave the comfort of her garden and step out into a now unfamiliar world to find her friend.

Rae’s journey is full of fear and hardships as she deals with a world that is now strange, but in turn this journey to find Nani is a really well told story and one that tackles a really challenging topic. Without the ability to see Rae’s world is not simple, her world is born from her imagination and created by her remaining senses. In itself this journey was a wonderful experience that shows how with a little encouragement you can face the toughest challenges even if it leads to a sad conclusion such as the case with this game. As it turns out Nani had died and her visits were less frequent clearly because she was sick, for Rae this was a sad conclusion but I think it is made better when we consider that perhaps Nani never existed and was merely a creation of many factors in Rae’s imagination.

Nani never existed

As we know Rae is left isolated and sad when she is left blind and so she spends her days alone in her garden until one day she receives a visitor, this is Nani or is it. In Rae’s mind she needed a friend, someone who would care about her and play with her despite her newfound shortcomings, and what stumbles into her life? It was Nani a cat who didn’t care about Rae’s shortcomings and simply randomly stumbled across Rae’s garden, does this not seem pretty convenient because in just looking at the game it is.

While no definitive team given in the game about how long Rae sat alone and isolated but the information we are given is that “one day she received a visitor”. Seems pretty convenient if you ask me, and why is this because Nani does not actually exist and I have two different theories for how this works.

The first of my theories is that Rae created Nani in her imagination, although hearing is said to be an improved factor when someone goes blind the mind also creates the world around you as Beyond Eyes demonstrates. The two factors that Rae relates to us is that she recognizes Nani by the sound of her cry, as well as a bell she wears, it can be considered that the bell is in her imagination but this piece is the one true element. Even if Nani was created in Rae’s mind a nearby bell was something that Rae associated with the cat and for this to work a sound must have come from somewhere in her garden hence the association.

The mind is a powerful tool and Rae’s tricked her at every turn giving her a friend who she even imagined that she could feel as well as hear. The reason for Nani’s creation was to help Rae’s phycological state, as mentioned Rae was isolated and to help her recover and find her way again she created a friend who would be there for her. The question is why does Nani not show up all the time? Well, that is very simple Nani’s existence depended solely on Rae’s mindset each day and whether she was needed, and towards the end as she appeared less and less it was Rae’s mind forcing Rae to let her go as to suggest she was no longer needed.

This would eventually push Rae to head out to find her friend, this removed Rae from her garden and in the same point her isolation and placed her in the world. This world may have been scary and unpredictable to her but Rae needed to get out into it to finally be free of her problems, and to finally put a closure to Nani she eventually would reach a cemetery and hear the familiar sound of a bell above a grave. This may be heartbreaking but it was Rae letting go of Nani and moving on, she had left her comfort zone to finally be free and the familiar bell and gravestone forces Rae to except that she died and Rae made this journey to this point herself.

Nani was a spiritual guide

The second possible theory suggests that Nani is a spirit guide, this one in comparison to the first theory seems more likely, even despite Rae’s sadness and the possibility of creating a fictional friend. This particular theory is a bit of stretch but I think it has power although you need to accept the afterlife as a possibility, for this theory we need to accept that Nani was Rae’s companion but it is not just before Rae sets off into the world that she died but rather before Rae was blinded.

While it is not fully possible to provide any evidence as to the nature of this ghost theory when put in line with the rest of the story it does still work. Nani showed up at a certain point in time after Rae was blinded, this was the point where Rae felt more alone than ever and needed someone to be there for her, and this is where Nani appeared for her. Rae gathered new peace and a new lease on life with her recurring friend’s visits, this slowly allowed her to gain courage and venture further then she thought possible slowly building up Rae for the journey that she had plotted.

As the game states throughout the seasons that pass since Rae’s accident Nani appears less and less, this was part of the ultimate plan to cause Rae to worry and to eventually after an extended period of time to venture forward to find her friend. The two signs Rae follows on her journey is the sound of the familiar cry as well as the bell that she had come to know, again I would suggest that each time she heard something familiar it was the spirit of Nani guiding her along to her final resting place.

However there is more to this including one point that tells us that Nani’s ultimate goal was to help Rae find a new friend and let her go. Around halfway through Rae’s journey we meet another young girl, I assume that this girl is at school given the area we pass through and many factors involving sound and that she loses a ball over a fence and can’t go and fetch it. Conveniently at this point Rae stumbles across the situation and is asked by the girl to fetch her ball, this proves quite challenging considering the slow and careful pace of Rae’s movements and that we can’t see but in eventually getting the ball the girl thanks us and we can move on.

I again like to consider this as part of Nani’s plan for Rae by putting her in direct contact with this girl as a future friend who will play with her. The whole factor with the ball can also be considered to be Nani’s doing that she used her spiritual capabilities to force the ball to wind a fair distance away just in time for Rae to stumble across the situation.

This evidence is further cemented by the games sad ending, when Rae finally learns that Nani is dead at the games conclusion she is left sad and grief-stricken by the situation. Her long and arduous journey had come to an end and she now knew that Nani was gone, it was Nani’s will that this happen, that Rae would stumble across the grave and be forced to let her go, but despite her sadness there was hope. One day Rae received a visitor, this visitor was the young girl we helped and she now became her friend and an escape for Rae’s isolation, Nani set everything up as Rae’s spiritual guide. She needed to help Rae escape her own inner darkness and face the world to spend months coming to terms with her life and accepting the situation. An animal acted as the perfect companion to assist with this recovery and helped her be ready to eventually re-join the world and find a friend who would understand and accept her weakness.

This later theory can obviously be a difficult one to swallow especially for those who don’t believe in what they can’t see such as ghostly apparitions but this does seem perfectly possible to me. Of course I am unable to provide any real evidence for either of my theories as each is circumstantial to the power of the mind and forces that we can’t see or control, but honestly both theories make Beyond Eyes seem like a much greater game that Rae was pushed in a convenient way to eventually set out and rejoin the world.

10 Comments

  • Propranolol50mgonceadayforever
    Posted July 20, 2016 4:27 pm 0Likes

    this game made me really sad. was brilliant short but dream like experience, but i felt like crying at the end ! Wonderfully made little gem of a game !

    • Simon Smith
      Posted July 20, 2016 9:41 pm 0Likes

      I can’t tell you how right you are, while many say this game is boring because there seems to be nothing going on you need to engage with the story and Beyond Eyes becomes a masterpiece. This game was hauntingly beautiful and I honestly cried at the end due to the sad realization of the journey’s end result.

      • Propranolol50mgonceadayforever
        Posted July 21, 2016 9:10 am 0Likes

        Even though I am not a spiritual person myself, I am looking at it from the point of view of (potentially, at least) the writer’s and of course, your personal theory above and i would edge toward the “Nani was a spiritual guide” theory too, having read your post. I think it is a much more comforting conclusion and a more useful arc too, because otherwise, the story was almost nihilistic in it’s delivery ( watching poor Rae cowering with her arms crossed, not knowing what the sounds really represent – bar dog barks of course – was actually REALLY disturbing and i really felt a strong urge to protect and worry about her at those points ). It’d be pretty terrible if the writers intended the conclusion to be something cold, hard and quite frankly a punch to the gut. I don’t see why anyone would want to do that and where the use is in simply basing a story like this in a perceived reality of the world we create to shut out trauma – although your first theory is equally valid too. I just think that a more hopeful ending, if i am seeing the 2nd theory correctly makes the experience have a point to it. I’m kinda glad that i stumbled across your post to be honest, to help me make more sense of the ending and feel better about it. HAHA, wow, video games really ARE starting to grow up, maybe only in small, but seemingly important steps. I’ll make a point of reading into certain game stories more deeply in future.

        • Simon Smith
          Posted July 21, 2016 3:21 pm 0Likes

          As a game player I do this a lot, I always want to know more about a game and want to further explore the story to piece together some small detail. In part we can call it a coping mechanism to deal with the heartache of certain elements and try to find a more peaceful conclusion, in other ways though it is about making something have that bit more sense. Beyond Eyes really develops Rae as a character you can care about and in a sense her whole journey is pointless if you just say that Nani is dead, but to help her grow and eventually escape her isolation it is interesting to read into Nani’s true purpose, confidence, and in a way freedom. Beyond Eyes may be slow paced but I can never deny the impact that the story had on me personally, how I became connected to Rae through Nani, and personally I like to think that Nani was there to guide Rae it makes things nicer in a way and gives her story a greater sense of closure. It is still sad but Rae is able to face the problem as prompted and move on and in a sense finally escape the walls that she had built up and find someone willing to help her and be her friend.

          I love reading into games far to much, I do this frequently with The Last of Us and Bioshock, but I think Beyond Eyes was one of my favorites to explore, the story was very open to interpretation and I enjoyed exploring my own personal theories. I can’t wait until I get around to exploring more smaller games like this such as the sinister story of Among the Sleep. Sorry off topic.

          • Propranolol50mgonceadayforever
            Posted July 21, 2016 6:07 pm 0Likes

            Were you a fan of Telltale’s The Walking Dead ? As much as I love The Last of Us, i was far more enamored with Lee and Clementine and the team that they made together. Clem is such an endearing and resourceful character and Lee is one of my favourite videogame characters of all time. I love that he is as strong as can be yet is pretty flawed and makes bad choices, but is full of good intent and big hearted. A kind of Homer SImpson, if you will, without the (admittedly hilarious) ridiculous ineptitude 🙂 I liked Joel, despite his constant glum-ness. I like how he gets shit done when all around him is going wrong. Ellie, not so much, her constant sass-mouthing grated somewhat, but that is probably an age thing where i just don’t relate to that type of character i guess. Difficult for me to look back on the game ( a while ago now ) and view Ellie subjectively as it’s a long old game haha, i’m not sure if i want to play through it again !

            I must comment on the art style of Beyond Eyes also, as it creates a very ( possibly intentional in it’s design choice ) uneasy atmosphere, despite the beautiful colour palette. Set against the pure white of Rae’s blindness, you get a constant sense of it being a lovely summer’s day, yet something just isn’t right. Of course that’s the point, but i just wanted to say that it works exactly as intended and the game designers made an excellent and very clever look in on her world. I never once really wished she’d move faster either, which is what i think a lot of gamers might want. The VERY slow pace, again as intentional as it was, helps more than hinders. The control and character pace are all part of telling the story correctly i think. Yes, very, very impressed with them!

            Currently travelling through ‘Journey’ ( in between bouts of Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Future Tone! LOL ) and Journey has me pretty much hooked too. I’m much more into these walkabout games and am thinking that No Man’s Sky might be something i may fall in love with ( depends, might be too much frantic combat yet…! )

            OH! One more, that i haven’t played yet ( will buy it on Steam very soon ) is INSIDE. I’ve already spoiled it for myself by watching a full playthrough on YouTube, but WOW…..stunning game. Another experience, rather than something that simply goes through the motions…I look forward to that one a lot also 🙂

          • Simon Smith
            Posted July 22, 2016 1:17 am 0Likes

            I was a fan of telltale’s The Walking Dead, I can’t tell you how much I loved that series. Clementine was a character that I grew to care about quite a lot, and Lee was just something so unique, he was the defining character of the series that met a terrible fate (mind the Zelda pun). I loved Lee’s development and how he just wanted to do the right thing to help everyone survive, for a similar reason I really liked Kenny, but Lee was just brilliant and I felt terrible for what happened to him in the end. Yet his fate was one he accepted he saved Clementine and died, the worse part was choosing Lee’s fate, Walker or dead body, and I could not leave him to turn Lee was just meant to much to me, and this was a showing of a story well told.

            Similarly I really enjoyed Life Is Strange and this was for the compelling characters, Max’s story was fascinating and given her abilities we were given a chance to further weigh our own consequences. I grew to care about her and the way my choices impacted her life, and I was compelled by the emotional toll that the story had on me.

            In regards to Beyond Eyes I to loved the art style, in a sense I felt it was very dream like and really reflected the way Rae would imagine the world in her mind. But I also really loved the white that lay before her that reflected upon her blindness it made things feel right as a reflection of the enigma that was the world that lay ahead. In terms of the storytelling this art style mixed with the slow paced helped build the story of Rae and really impacted us as the player to feel for her weakness and be just as uncertain as her. This slow pace was the element that just made me love Beyond Eyes more and it is one of the best walking games I have played for this reason. It is on the same wavelength as another personal favorite Gone Home.

            Journey was also incredible, I only just got a Playstation 3 yesterday so I had to wait until this game came out on the Playstation 4 to experience it and wow this game was so beautiful. I was moved by the story that truly was a journey that reflected upon the fragile nature of life and the way we move through it until we reach our inevitable death and do it all over again. Journey is another game I hold it high regard and it is another captivating game that uses a somewhat slow pace to provide an unforgettable experience.

            Games are at their best when they don’t try to be a game and instead develop a memorable experience from a well constructed story. There are so many games I loved, and in regards to The Last of Us I never had an issue with Joel or Ellie, I have a few theories going about Joel and the way Ellie saved him from himself, and their journey and bond was captivating to me. Ellie is also what I consider one of the greatest females in gaming and I rank as highly as Bioshock Infinite’s Elizabeth. Personally, I have played The Last of Us at six or seven times the last time was only last month.

          • Propranolol50mgonceadayforever
            Posted July 23, 2016 3:39 pm 0Likes

            Very interesting about Kenny…I sided with him all the time in season 2, right until just before the end. I just didn’t trust any of the other characters that much, but had been through a lot with Kenny in Season 1. I chose to stick with him until the very end, when i think, i recall entering the compound, but only because i felt that the baby needed somewhere safer to be. I thought that, whilst he was a hot head, prone to walking into disaster, blinded by the red mist, he truly was a doting dad who really wanted the best for everyone and stuck to his guns regardless.

            Saw screenshots today of Season 3 and one of the shots has Clem carrying little CJ (?might have his name wrong) on her back. I cannot wait for season 3, though i am a little worried that Clem’s arc will end with the season and I’m going to get all emotional again haha !

            SPOILERS: Even though I am a bit too old to relate to the characters of Life Is Strange and found them a bit TOO cliche’ for my liking ( maybe that was the point and an artistic choice ), i DID become engrossed in the story and genuinely fell for the red herring of the creepy dad/security guard turning out to be a hero in the end. I liked that. I didn’t care for the Scooby Doo ending where the main antagonist, explains his entire plan through rather cheesy exposition, but well, i felt the whole story was kinda flawed, but certainly still exciting and interesting regardless. I felt pretty bad for the bullied girl who ( in my game ) jumped, as she seemed like a genuinely nice character and she was the butt of everyone’s joke from start to finish, mostly. Shame. But that’s why the choices are there in the game. You live and die by them and I enjoy these kinds of games, even though the choice appears to always just be an illusion, as the most important story driven choices are really fake-outs. Oh! I Especially loved the dream sequence ( of sorts ) where you have to guide Max through the mazes and call backs to earlier in the story, avoiding ghosts of certain people, as it were. The constant coming back in through the same door of the corridor was nicely creepy, indeed! The Walking Dead still is almost flawless though 🙂

            I couldn’t comment on Gone Home or Bioshock Infinite, as i haven’t played them ( though i DO own Bioshock Infinite ). I definitely recommend checking out INSIDE too, if you already haven’t 🙂

            I’ve started playing The Last of Us again, thanks to your posts. I’m only up to the area outside. They’re in the high rise buildings and the clickers have just turned up 🙂 I recall that it only gets better and better from hereon out !

          • Simon Smith
            Posted July 24, 2016 11:17 pm 0Likes

            When it came to Telltale’s The Walking Dead I found I mixed who I sided with in the first season, but in the second from the moment Kenny came back I sided with him on almost everything. Kenny was basically Clementine’s surrogate father who took on the role of Lee, and sure he had some serious anger issues but deep down he had a heart of gold. Kenny is your quintessential survivor, he has been through everything and has lost all that mattered to him in the world, he may seem broken but his intentions were always good. When it came to the fight between him and Jane I let Kenny kill her simply because she could not be trusted and Kenny was only looking out for AJ’s wellbeing. Finally, when we got to Wellington I chose to have Clementine go in with AJ, and this was only because of Kenny’s insistence and yet this broke my heart. This poor guy who had been through so much I had to leave to try to give AJ his best chance and this broke Kenny as much as me. Kenny is the best character in the game and does care, and part of me hopes that because he is still alive in my ending that he will show up in season 3 even if only for an episode. Please give me some closure, just don’t kill him it would not be fair for him to die like that, and he is far to stubborn.

            I to am concerned that Clementine’s story is coming to an end, but I honestly thought that she would not be back for season three. She may be more experienced but I think it would be a fitting conclusion if you met her end in season three. Certainly it would be heartbreaking but if she were to sacrifice herself to save AJ that would work for me, die a hero much like Lee did for Clementine, it would bring the series full circle and I would not complain, although I may cry.

            On to Life is Strange, as I have said I love the story and find it compelling (Scooby Doo reveal and all) and this all despite not understanding half of what was going on and never understanding people. I admit I hated Chloe and this kind of made the end game choice that much easier but in saying that the final episode was still pretty incredible and really messed with my mind particularly as you said with the maze.

            In terms of characters I actually liked the reveal that Chloe’s stepfather was actually trying to do the right thing, I stepped on his toes on a number of occasions but I also backed him up. I felt bad for the guy and all that he went through, despite outward appearance he always had a good intention and I feel bad that I kind of urged him to kill Jefferson by telling him that he killed Chloe, but he made his choice and showed his true colours. Also I really liked Kate Marsh who only lasted two episodes, she seemed like such a nice person who was unfortunately targeted and made a giant joke. The one time in the game that they don’t allow us the ability to rewind time was where it really counted and unfortunately I chose the wrong wordings and she jumped off the roof. I still feel bad and that really upset me. Don’t worry about being to old to relate to the characters even when I was their age I never would have been able to relate.

            I am glad that you started playing The Last of Us again, even if you know the entire story I think it is fun to wander through each section and take in the atmosphere and look for small details. Soak in the story and consider potential theories or ideas, one of mine really focuses on the end and Joel’s actions being right in a messed up way. Also I still feel bad for Henry.

            I keep hearing Inside is good when I am low on new projects again I might have to purchase it for the Xbox One and give it a go, although I admit I still have not beaten Limbo. Not for lack of trying I got drawn into the game but then got stuck on one section involving a leech and a block, even still Limbo was a great ambient adventure.

          • Propranolol50mgonceadayforever
            Posted August 4, 2016 1:49 pm 0Likes

            Just started playing Never Alone. Another beautiful and charming experience so far. Loving all these indie titles on the PSN store recently! I saw that Inside is coming to PS4 too, so i’ll get that alongside Limbo, No Man’s Sky and several others i saw online recently ! Not enough time to play it seems ! What a time to be into video games, now we have studios like, the above, ” tiger & squid ” making games that require a bit more than just pressing R2 to shoot !

          • Simon Smith
            Posted August 4, 2016 3:11 pm 0Likes

            Ah, Never Alone that was such an incredible game, it told a deep and enjoyable narrative that also acted as a great lesson in history and culture. There is a certain amount of desperation that went into that game that reminds me a lot of the game I am currently playing, Rain for the Playstation 3. Limbo was also incredible and really lured you in with the sense of wonder and mystery as you mentally questioned what was going on, I always wanted to know more.
            That was one of the great things about being a Playstation Plus subscriber, I get the games that they offer without ever actually playing online, but on that note have you played The Unfinished Swan, if you haven’t I cannot recommend it enough. It is another one of those games that broke from the trend and tells an interesting story that becomes quite captivating.
            Games are evolving, and it is always great to see new and original ideas get explored to enjoy new avenues of captivation. I just wish I had more time to be able to immerse myself in the stories and play many of these wonderful titles. This is a great time to be a game player, and I hope that as the industry grows with the NX, Scorpio, and Neo we will get to see more games like these that will shine bright. Originality will vanish but the experience of these games will continue to thrive.

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